Message From the President

April 1, 2020

 

March 24, 2020

 

March 18, 2020

 

Letter From the President

March 16, 2020

Dear Bluefield State Community:

We are working daily to adjust to the shifting news about the coronavirus (COVID-19). My message today is for our students, faculty and staff. Your well-being and education will always be our primary focus.

The situation is rapidly evolving. Bluefield State College has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at this time on campus. That said, we cannot eliminate all risk, but we are taking aggressive steps to minimize it. Because this situation is changing every day, more precautions make sense. We are undertaking the following changes to continue our educational mission.

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020 until Sunday, March 29, 2020:

  • Classes at Bluefield State's main and Beckley campuses will not meet in-person. Course content and instruction will move to online, effective March 22nd.
  • Students will participate in these classes, complete assigmnents, and engage with their professors at prescribed meeting times. This teaching platform will ensure that students are able to complete their courses and meet their academic requirements. Additional information on how students will use this technology will be coming from the Office of the Provost.
  • Bluefield State leadership will be working on an individual basis with students who reside in off campus housing to assure their ability to comply with their classwork assignments.
  • The State of West Virginia has suspended college sponsored travel as well as nonessential travel for staff and faculty. Athletic games are suspended during this time. We want to mitigate the congregation of large groups of people.

The changes, do not affect Bluefield State's day-to-day routine staff business. We will maintain academic and other support services. Our Threat Assessment Team will have further information for you.

Cleanliness is a top priority. Our cleaning crews have taken extra measures to keep public and common areas on campus, as well as in resident housing and the dining hall clean with daily disinfections. This includes walls, windows, lavatories, railings, doors, floors and more. We will continue to disinfect the places students touch most. Additional hand sanitizing stations have been set up in high traffic areas.

Our Threat Assessment Team is in place to ensure your well-being. This team is working closely with local government agencies and the local hospitals as well as in coordination across the campus.

Students with academic concerns should connect with their professors or advisors. For those who are experiencing anxiety or excessive stress, please reach out to the Counseling Center at 304-327-4016. Bluefield State will always keep the latest information here at the top of our website.

A hallmark of Bluefield State is our caring community, our day-to-day interactions, our small classes and strong relationships between professors and students. We understand that these measures are disruptive but we believe they will help minimize the risk. We are committed to returning to a normal state of operation.

I want to thank our faculty and staff as they work hard to implement these initiatives; they are dedicated to the best interests and success of our students. The Bluefield State community is at its best when we work together. We are in challenging times. It's our commitment to each other that will help us all see this through.


COVID-19 Resources

DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health and the West Virginia Poison Center.  Operators are available 24/7, toll-free at 1-800-887-4304

NCAA Division II Athletics Coronavirus Plan

COVID-19 FAQs

March 6, 2020

A: CDC’s guidance COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, which has spread globally, including regions in the U.S. Learn about COVID-19 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
A: CDC’s guidance Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Read about COVID-19 symptoms. Coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person to person between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet). The virus spreads via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and their droplets either land in the mouths or noses of nearby people or are inhaled into their lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and touching their mouth or eyes before washing their hands, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. For more information, see the CDC page, How it Spreads.
A: BSC urges faculty, staff, and students who have personal or professional plans to travel either internationally or to affected areas in the U.S. to reconsider their travel and to consider the possibility of travel delays, future quarantines, or prolonged self-isolation when returning from travel to the BSC and Mercer County communities. BSC encourage faculty and staff to share any travel plans with their department chair, dean, or manager to facilitate College assistance if the need arises. However, given concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, we urge student and college groups to self-report any travel plans with the Office of the Dean of Students Guy Sims(phone number:(304) 327-4512)(Email: gsims@bluefieldstate.edu) BSC encourages student groups to reconsider travel to any international or domestic location affected by COVID-19.
A: Students returning to BSC expected to follow the guidelines of the West Virginia Department of Health and CDC regarding any mandatory quarantine or isolation procedures. Students, faculty, and staff are instructed to follow the CDC’s guidance for self-isolation if traveling from countries with widespread sustained transmission of COVID-19. Students should contact their faculty via email to make arrangements for missing class (see related FAQ below). Employees should contact their Director for any questions about leave. Students returning from affected areas to other states should follow guidelines from their state's public health department. Travelers from countries with CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notices may face restrictions upon entering the U.S. Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in Hubei Province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine, to ensure they’re provided proper medical care and health screening. This applies only to U.S. citizens who have been in Hubei Province in the past 14 days. Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in the rest of mainland China within the previous 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screening at a select number of ports of entry and up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk. Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled to China within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the U.S. for this time.
A: No case of COVID-19 has been reported among BSC students, faculty, staff or the local community. Should a case be positively identified, appropriate communications as guided by the West Virginia Department of Health will occur. For additional information regarding locations impacted by COVID-19 visit the CDC’s global map and the West Vriginia Department of Health’s surveillance data.
A: The best preventative steps for any communicable disease include simple but important measures to practice as part of your daily routine, but especially during flu season: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments. Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system. Additional information is available from the CDC.
A: The CDC recommends simple but important measures including frequent hand-washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. The CDC is not recommending the wearing of masks at this time. If however a person needs to obtain one they may come to the BSC Health Center located in the Physical Education Building in Room 210.
A: BSC urges faculty, staff, and students who have personal plans to travel either internationally or to affected areas in the U.S. to reconsider their travel and to take into account the possibility of travel delays, future quarantines, or prolonged self-isolation before returning to the BSC and Southern West Virginia communities. BSC strongly recommends not traveling to locations with CDC or State Department Level 3 alerts or higher. BSC encourage faculty and staff to share any travel plans with their department chair, dean, or manager to facilitate University assistance if the need arises. Be aware that even a country not currently experiencing an outbreak could suddenly be declared a high-risk area, posing risks of exposure, difficulty with travel, or immigration barriers upon return to the U.S. For more information, see the CDC travel information website.
A: The CDC maintains a current list of Warning Level 3 countriesand advises all travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to those countries due to widespread concerns about local health conditions. The US Department of State issues Travel Advisories for individual nations. These assess local health, safety and security conditions. BSC strongly advises against traveling to locations with a CDC Warning of Level 3 or State Department Travel Advisory of Level 3 or 4. At this moment, BSC is prepared to cancel any BSC administered study abroad programs or other education abroad activities until advised otherwise.
A: The CDC maintains a current list of Alert Level 2 countries and advises older adults and persons with chronic medical conditions to consider postponing nonessential travel to those countries due to sustained community transmission of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19..
A: Should a case be positively identified, appropriate communications as guided by the West Virginia Department of Health will occur. Protocols are in place for cleaning on-Grounds residences of affected students and work spaces of affected faculty and staff. Administrators will work with faculty to make accommodations for extended student absences.
A: BSC has encouraged community members to become familiar with the facts about COVID-19 and support one another with compassion. If you have questions please contact, BSC’s Dean of Students Office Guy Sims, by calling 304-327-4512 who has resources to help address any concerns both informally (through coaching and training), and formally, if the situation should arise.

    A: 

    • Students with personal health questions: email BSC Student Health Center: bschealthcenter@bluefieldstate.edu
    • Faculty and staff to Contact your medical provider for personal health questions
    • General questions: Call 304-327-4170
    • Academic policy-related inquiries: Contact the Office of the Provost tlewis@bluefieldstate.edu)
    • College travel: International Studies Office: Dr Jamkandi 304-327-4036
    • College email announcements: BSC News and Events, and BSC Portal
    • Non-medical support resources: Office of the Dean of Students,Guy Sims: 304-327-4512
    • Academic Advising and Counseling, 304-327-4444
    • Faculty/Employee Assistance Program, 304-327-4046.
    • Public information related to the virus: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; West Virginia Department of Health
    A: BSC is communicating regularly with Mercer County Health Department and local hospitals New and Alert message are being sent to our list serve as information becomes available. The portal web site is being reviewed and updated as needed to keep the BSC campus informed.

     

    Classes and Academics – For Students

    A: Bluefield State College will suspend all in class lectures and labs, and move to alternate, online, delivery of instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. All students should continue to check their e-mails and Moodle messages daily and contact their individual instructors to find out how the requirements of their courses will be met.
    A: The move to remote instruction will not adversely impact a student’s ability to complete a course or graduate on time.
    A: Bluefield State College will adhere to the following schedule for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester:

     

    March 23: All Classes Resume

     

    March 23: Compressed Classes Start (2nd 8-week Compressed Courses)

     

    March 23: Pre-registration begins for currently enrolled students. Email or call your advisor for an appointment.

     

    May 1: Applications Submitted on-line for December 2020 Graduation Due (call 304-327- 4060 for any questions)

     

    May 1: Last Day to Withdraw from a course and receive a grade of “W”

     

    May 1: Last Day of Classes

     

    May 1: Last Day to Officially Withdraw from the College (dropping ALL Classes) and the last day for Faculty to drop students using the Early Alert System

     

    May 4-8: Final Exams Day and Evening Classes (Spring 2020 Final Exam Schedule is located on the BSC website) Bluefield State College
    A: Students may drop a course or withdraw from the college by completing a Permit to Withdraw Form.
    A: Students considering dropping a course or withdrawing from the College are encouraged to discuss their situation with their academic advisor and their instructors, the Enrollment Services Center, or another representative of the College before making the decision. Each student considering withdrawal from the College will be given the opportunity to speak with a responsive, caring representative of the College. The Enrollment Services Center staff (Dr. Cravor Jones at cjones@bluefieldstate.edu. (304-327-4016) or Dr. Tamara Ferguson at tferguson@bluefieldstate.edu (304-327-4155) will conduct a brief exit interview with the student to facilitate his/her positive action, whether that means withdrawing, remaining, or planning to return to school at a later date. A student who decides to withdraw must obtain a Permit to Withdraw form. The Permit to Withdraw Form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office (registrar@bluefieldstate.edu).
    A: Students may meet with their academic advisor by e-mail or Moodle. If you do not know who your advisor is, you may log into MyBSC and access your Student Profile that will identify your advisor. For students who have questions, they may contact Dr. Cravor Jones at cjones@bluefieldstate.edu (304-327-4016).
    A: The following student services will be available online:

    Counseling Center The counseling center is available for mental health issues, change of major, Smarthinking questions or problems, permit to withdraw, and other student services issues. The Counseling Center is available by contacting cjones@bluefieldstate.edu. 304-327-4444 or 304-327-4016.

    Financial Aid Students may access the Financial Aid Website at https://bluefieldstate.edu/tuition/financial-aid. You will be able to access every document that you may need for Financial Aid from the above link, if you should have questions we will be accessible by email or you may call one of the phone numbers listed on the above link and leave a message as we will be checking our voicemails daily. You may also access your myBSC to see your account including your bill, financial aid or documents that you may need. We will still be processing financial aid as usual just a little differently during this time.

    File Your FAFSA Please be sure that you have filed your FAFSA for the upcoming Fall semester 2020 as well as the Summer term that begins in May. You may submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at fafsa.gov. A FAFSA must be filled out every school year, please use Bluefield State’s school code, 003809, when completing the application. You will be required to register for an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) in order to register and electronically sign the FAFSA. If your parent is required to sign the FAFSA, one parent must also apply for an FSA ID number. The Higher Education Policy Commission extended the application deadline for the Higher Education Grant, the state’s need-based financial aid program, from April 15, 2020 to May 15, 2020.

    Summer Loan applications Should be completed by clicking the link https://bluefieldstate.edu/tuition/financial-aid then choose Summer Financial Aid Eligibility requirements. That will take you through the necessary steps.

    Library Services Bluefield State is providing Proctortrack free to all students for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Most instructors are utilizing this option. Please login into each Moodle course for additional details. Instructors will set up an onboarding quiz, students must complete this quiz to initialize the Proctortrack verification process that can take up to 48 hours. Once this process has been completed, students can complete tests/quizzes via Proctortrack.

    Online Support Students who need online support can contact Moodle Support Services at 304-327-4545, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or CChambers@bluefieldstate.edu or TStrock@bluefieldstate.edu

    Student Support Services Student Support Services staff will be available to students Monday through Friday, 8:00-4:00 to provide services via email, Moodle, phone, and/or virtually through the duration of this difficult time. Students may contact the Student Support Services staff at Ckirby@bluefieldstate.edu, Scottp@bluefieldstate.edu, Htaylor@bluefieldstate.edu, or Charrison@bluefieldstate.edu. Staff members will contact each student, individually, to discuss the best modality to receive tutoring services (i.e., GoogleMeet, FB Messenger, Skype, Phone, or Smarthinking). Students who need online tutoring can also access online tutoring through Smarthinking on their MyBSC site.

    Testing Bluefield State is providing Proctortrack free to all students for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Most instructors are utilizing this option. Please login into each Moodle course for additional details. Instructors will set up an onboarding quiz, students must complete this quiz to initialize the Proctortrack verification process that can take up to 48 hours. Once this process has been completed, students can complete tests/quizzes via Proctortrack.
    A: Student Support Services is the designated office at BSC which evaluates disability documentation, determines eligibility, and implements reasonable accommodations for enrolled students as guided by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and college policy. SSS provides the support necessary for all students to achieve their academic goals in a welcoming learning environment. Based on proper documentation and recommendation of services from physicians and therapists, the following services can be provided to students with disabilities:
    • Test Proctoring
    • Notetaking
    • Scribes for Test
    • Extended Test Time
    • Preferential Seating
    • Test Reader
    • Separate Quiet Room
    • Adaptive Software
    • Sign-language Interpreters
    • Physical Assistance Across Campus
    • Other services also available (depending on the recommendation of therapist and/or physician)
    The learning management system for course delivery, Moodle, is accessible to students with disabilities.

    The online tutoring platform, Smartthinking, is accessible to students with disabilities.

    The online testing platform, Proctortrack, is accessible to students with disabilities.
    A: If you need Moodle support please email Cody Chambers cchambers@bluefieldstate.edu or Tina Strock tstrock@bluefieldstate.edu

    Testing
    Bluefield State is providing Proctortrack free to all students for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Most instructors are utilizing this option. Please login into each Moodle course for additional details. Instructors will set up an onboarding quiz, students must complete this quiz to initialize the Proctortrack verification process that can take up to 48 hours. Once this process has been completed, students can complete tests/quizzes via Proctortrack.

    Proctortrack
    Instructors will set up an onboarding quiz, you must complete this quiz to initialize the Proctortrack verification process that can take up to 48 hours. Once this process has been completed you will be able to complete tests/quizzes via Proctortrack. Attached is the Proctortrack student manual and here is a link to the website for student information about how it works: https://www.proctortrack.com/students/how-it-works-students/

    Click here for the tech requirements to utilize Proctortrack.
    A: Students who have any questions or concerns my contact the Student Affairs Advocate, Dr. Ted Lewis, Provost at tlewis@bluefieldstate.edu or 304-327-4161.

     

    Classes and Academics – For Faculty

    A: Bluefield State College will suspend all in class lectures and labs, and move to alternate, online, delivery of instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. Faculty are asked to make certain that their students understand the requirements for class completion.
    A: All faculty should have completed Quality Matters training, enabling them to effectively deliver courses online. Faculty needing online support can contact Moodle Support Services at 304-327-4545, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or CChambers@bluefieldstate.edu or TStrock@bluefieldstate.edu. Each school has also identified online mentors to assist faculty in preparing online delivery of their courses.
    A: Faculty are requested to continue to follow all college policies and guidelines for working with students with documented disabilities.

    The learning management system for course delivery, Moodle, is accessible to students with disabilities.

    The online tutoring platform, Smartthinking, is accessible to students with disabilities.

    The online testing platform, Proctortrack, is accessible to students with disabilities.

     

    Travel

    A: West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has issued a State employee travel ban on both out-of-state and international travel for State business. He also asked all West Virginians to reconsider non-essential out-of-state travel for personal business.

    All persons consider personal travel should strictly follow CDC Travel Guidelines and the US State Department Travel Guidelines and Restrictions
    A: As state employees, faculty and staff are under the travel ban issued by Governor Justice for international travel.
    A: Document the response you receive from the specific airline. Attach the documentation to either the P-Card invoice or the employee reimbursement request form.
    A: Bluefield State College will not require any employee who does not feel comfortable traveling at this time to do so. Additionally, all West Virginians have been asked by Governor Justice to reconsider non-essential out-of-state travel for personal business
    A: All persons consider personal travel should strictly follow CDC Travel Guidelines and the US State Department Travel Guidelines and Restrictions
    A: All persons consider personal travel should strictly follow CDC Travel Guidelines and the US State Department Travel Guidelines and Restrictions
    A: According to the CDC, at this time, travel restrictions and entry screening apply only to travelers arriving from some countries or regions with widespread ongoing spread of COVID-19. [Note: US policies are subject to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.]

    If you are coming from a country or a region with widespread ongoing transmission of COVID-19 (Level 3 Travel Heath Notice), you may be screened when you arrive in the United States. After you arrive home, take the following steps to protect yourself and others:

    1. Stay at home. Do not go to work, school, or leave your house for 14 days. Discuss your work situation with your employer.
    2. Monitor your health. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever (temperature of 100.4°F/38°C or higher). Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
    3. Practice social distancing within the home. Avoid contact with other people for the 14 days. Maintain distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from family members and others in the home when possible.

    If you are coming from a country with ongoing community transmission (Level 2 Travel Health Notice), take the following steps to protect yourself and others:

    1. Monitor your health. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever (temperature of 100.4°F/38°C or higher). Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
    2. Practice social distancing. Stay out of crowded places and avoid group gatherings. Do not go to shopping malls or to the movies. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters). Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during this time.

    Check CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Travel webpage to find the current travel health notice level for your international travel.
    A: People who have been exposed to the new coronavirus and who are at risk for coming down with COVID-19 might practice self-quarantine. Health experts recommend that self-quarantine lasts 14 days. Two weeks provides enough time for them to know whether or not they will become ill and be contagious to other people. 

    You might be asked to practice self-quarantine if you have recently returned from traveling to a part of the country or the world where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, or if you have knowingly been exposed to an infected person.

    Self-quarantine involves:
    • Using standard hygiene and washing hands frequently
    • Not sharing things like towels and utensils
    • Staying at home
    • Not having visitors
    • Staying at least 6 feet away from other people in your household
    Once your quarantine period has ended, if you do not have symptoms, follow your doctor’s instructions on how to return to your normal routine.

    Visitors to the College

    A: Bluefield State College has restricted access and use of all campus buildings to employees.
    A: All conferences, seminars, and other events on each campus of Bluefield State College have been canceled or postponed until further notice.

     

    Events and Meetings

    A: The College is currently restricting events to be held on campus. Events that are currently scheduled have been either postponed, canceled, or restricted to an online format. Events for the future may be scheduled tentatively.
    A: Meetings are recommended via phone, Google Meet, etc. Recommend to follow CDC guidelines with no more than ten physically in attendance in any group meeting.
    A: As with domestic visitors, we are asking individuals to be aware of how they feel and their health before coming to campus. Many of the services on campus can be connected by phone or by the web. Conference, seminars and other events, regardless of international or domestic participants, have been either postponed, canceled, or restricted to an online format. Again, events for the future may be scheduled tentatively.
    A: Spring sports have been cancelled (softball, baseball, golf, men/women’s tennis). NCAA regulations do not allow recruiting (dead period) off campus until after April 15, 2020. We expect more guidance to follow in regard to recruiting efforts.